by RANDY GREGORY The dictionary defines cubed as the third power of a number or quantity. To the Rockford Rams varsity basketball team, it equals the power of the three-point shot. The Rams were a blistering 11 of 19 from three-point land on their way to an impressive 57-41 drubbing of Grand Haven in the Class A regional finals on Wednesday night, March 14 at Grandville. The win propels the 20-5 Rams into the Class A quarterfinals against the Okemos Chieftains (17-8). Rockford actually trailed early 7-5 as they tried to get their offense on track. But once the door nudged open from distance, the Rams kicked it all the way in. Alex Durkin hit a triple to make it 8-7 Rockford and give the Rams the lead for the balance of the contest. That was followed by Durkin again from distance, then Chad Carlson with a bomb, and finally Kyle Short with a three-pointer of his own. Just like that, the Rams turned a two-point deficit into a 10-point lead (17-7) and set the stage for a recurring theme. “One thing that Steve [Majerle] always says is that ‘shooting covers up for a lot of sins’,” said Rockford Coach Nick Allen. “We were definitely able to make things easier tonight with our ability to shoot from the perimeter. I know I can always count on a great effort defensively, but you never know if the shots are going to fall on a consistent basis that night. This was one of those days where they were and we were able to take advantage of that.” The second quarter was more of the same for Rockford, save for a different sniper. Chase Fairchild nailed three triples in three attempts that not only kept the Buccaneers at bay; it actually increased the Rockford lead to 34-17 as the two teams headed to the locker room. Every time that the Bucs made a minor charge it was merely another opportunity for the Rams to drop in an effective three-point counter of their own. “Our coaches have a lot of confidence in all of us and they encourage us to take the open three-pointer,” said Durkin. “We were knocking them down tonight and we were able to feed off […]
The Rockford girls swim team easily trounced conference opponent East Kentwood 184-120 Thursday night, Oct. 28. The Rams traveled to Kentwood for the season finale and a new team record by Sarah Smith in the 500 free. Rockford’s A relay team of Casey Wolfer, Rachel Romain, Emily Smith and Jamie Van Porfliet and B relay team of Kara Vandawater, Morgan Lipe, Alaina Smith and Lauren Girard took first and second in the 200 medley. The Falcons’ Sara Bolt finally showed up to the block for the second event, the 200 freestyle, and must have been in a hurry, because she easily beat Rockford’s next four place finishers: Adrianna Craft, Morgan Longberg, Lexy Caster and E. Smith. But Rockford came back in the third event, the 200-yard individual medley, by taking all four top places: Kennedy Cutler was first, Romain second, Vandawater third and Lipe fourth. Van Portfliet took first in the 50 freestyle, supported by Kristen Schnelle (fifth), Wolfer (sixth) and Emily Williams (seventh). The divers took the top three places: Katie DeHaan, Erica Finlayson and Maggie Setterington, with Sarah McCabe taking fifth. Craft and Caster came in first and second in the 100 butterfly, with Taylor Downs and Madison Trimble only one place further back in fourth and fifth. And in the 100 free, Rockford placed first, second, third and fifth: Cutler, A. Smith, Girard and Schnelle. A. Smith took first place in the 500 free, with sister Emily taking third, Kayla Kidder in fourth and Kara Loux in fifth. Rockford’s A relay team of Cutler, Van Portfliet, A. Smith and Craft and B relay team of Schnelle, Williams, Kelsey Carlson and Madison Levine took first and second again in the 200 free. Vandawater and Girard took first and second in the 100 backstroke with the reminder of Rockford’s swimmers in that event and the last two events swimming exhibition. The Rams will travel back to Kentwood for the OK Red conference meet taking place November 4-6. Preliminary diving will take place Thursday evening, preliminary swimming is Friday night, and finals for all are on Saturday.
Rockford parents were on the edge of their seats Thursday, Oct. 14, as they watched the girls swim team face conference strongman West Ottawa. The Rams only placed first in two of the 12 events—the 50-yard free by Jamie Van Portfliet and the 100-yard butterfly by Sarah Smith—but the team’s depth still earned enough points to keep the Rams in the game to the very last relay event. The Rams started off trailing West Ottawa by eight points after the initial 200-yard medley relay as the A relay squad of Morgan Longberg, Rachel Romain, S. Smith and Kennedy Cutler only placed second. The team fell further behind in the 200-yard free, with Adrianna Craft finishing third, Alaina Smith fourth, Lexy Caster sixth, and Emily Smith seventh. But in the 200-yard medley, the Rams were able to add more points to their column by S. Smith placing second, Morgan Lipe fourth, Romain fifth, and Kara Vandawater sixth. In the 50 free, they pulled even closer to West Ottawa, with Van Portfliet taking one of the two first-place finishes, as well as Casey Wolfer taking fourth, Cutler fifth, and Lauren Girard sixth. Rockford’s divers pulled the teams even by Macie Degraaf placing second, Katie DeHaan third, Erica Finlayson fourth, and Maggie Setterington fifth. S. Smith took first in the 100-yard butterfly. With teammates A. Smith (third), Madison Trimble (fourth) and Taylor Downs (fifth), she pulled the team to 11 points ahead of the Panthers. But the lead wasn’t enough to keep Rockford ahead, as the Rams came up with less points than the Panthers in the next five events. In the 100-yard free, VanPortfliet finished second, Wolfer took fifth, Longberg sixth and E. Smith seventh. In the 500-yard free, Caster took third, Girard fourth, Craft fifth and Kayla Kidder seventh. Rockford’s A relay (Cutler, S. Smith, Wolfer, Van Portfliet) and B relay (A. Smith, E. Smith, Craft, Caster) finished second and third in the 200-yard free. Longberg placed third in the 100-yard backstroke, supported by Vandawater (fourth), Downs (sixth) and Rachel Fredricks (seventh). Cutler took third in the 100-yard breaststroke, followed by Romain (fourth), Lipe (fifth) and Sloan Ouellette (seventh). By the final 400 relay, West Ottawa was back ahead by seven points. To win the meet, the […]
The Rockford women continued their winning streak Thursday night, Oct. 7, out-swimming Grand Haven 182-124 in the Grand Haven pool. The Lady Rams had little competition from the Buccaneers, taking eight out of 12 events with ease. The 200 medley relay team of Casey Wolfer, Kennedy Cutler, Lexy Caster and Jamie Van Portfliet took first place, and the B relay team of Morgan Longberg, Morgan Lipe, Madison Trimble and Lauren Girard took second to start the meet on a strong note. Sarah Smith and Adrianna Craft continued taking first and second in the 200 free. Freshman Stephanie Mull took first in the 200 individual medley, and Van Portfliet, Wolfer and Girard took first, second and third in the 50 free. Rockford’s divers, Katie DeHaan, Macie Degraaf, Erica Finlayson and Maggie Setterington, were especially strong, finishing one, two, three and four. S. Smith, Trimble and Taylor Downs continued strong, finishing in the first three positions in the 100 butterfly. Not until the seventh event, the 100 free, did Grand Haven get the top spot, which Rockford answered by taking the top four places in the next event, the 500 free, with Craft, Kayla Kidder, Kelly Baker and Elliana Raymond. Grand Haven then eked out another first in the 300 free relay, and Rockford answered with the top three places in the backstroke by Wolfer, Longberg and Downs. Grand Haven finished off the night with firsts in the 100 breaststroke and the 400 free relay. Rockford travels to West Ottawa for another conference meet on October 14.